PBA Philippine Cup

‘We did not lose hope’: No-quit Converge snaps 12-game skid for 1st win of the year

Delfin Dioquino

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‘We did not lose hope’: No-quit Converge snaps 12-game skid for 1st win of the year

GUNNER. Bryan Santos in action for the Converge FiberXers in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

PBA Images

Converge ends a dry spell that lasted for five months as it breaks through in the PBA Philippine Cup behind a fine performance from rookie Bryan Santos

MANILA, Philippines – It took five long months, but Converge is finally back on the winning track.

Hammering away despite their string of losses, the FiberXers broke through in the PBA Philippine Cup after a 104-99 win over Meralco at the PhilSports Arena on Sunday, April 21. 

Converge leaned on rookie Bryan Santos in a pivotal third-quarter turnaround as it notched its first victory since it beat Terrafirma in December for its only other win of the season. 

“We did not lose hope,” said FiberXers head coach Aldin Ayo. “When the losses were piling up, the more that we are motivated.” 

Scoreless in the first two quarters, Santos took over in the second half and finished with a season-high 22 points built on a 7-of-10 clip from beyond the arc as Converge snapped a 12-game skid dating back to last conference.

The FiberXers trailed 42-53 at the half before Santos erupted for 16 points in the third quarter to help his side pull level at 77-77 going into the final salvo.

Santos nailed his seventh and final three-pointer with under three minutes left for a 100-97 edge – a lead that Converge protected thanks to key buckets by fellow rookies Schonny Winston and JL delos Santos.

Winston knocked down a pair of free throws to restore a three-point lead after Bolts star Chris Newsome made it 99-100, while Delos Santos sank a tough jumper inside the final 15 seconds for the dagger. 

“They’re playing their roles. They’re trying to support each other. Our players never showed that they were demoralized,” said Ayo. “We’re looking for reasons to enjoy this game and just have fun.” 

Alec Stockton backstopped Santos with 20 points and 4 rebounds before he fouled out in the middle of the fourth quarter, while Justin Arana supplied 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists.

Winston and Delos Santos added 14 and 10 points, respectively. 

Although the FiberXers already crashed out of playoff contention after dropping their first eight games of the conference, Ayo said the team still aims to compete. 

“We’re excited for that first win. We want to exit this conference on a high note,” said Ayo.

Newsome scored a season-high 25 points on top of 5 assists and 3 rebounds, but his numbers went down the drain as Meralco absorbed a second straight defeat and fell to 3-5. 

Chris Banchero and Aaron Black chimed in 20 and 19 points in the loss. 

The Scores

Converge 104 – Santos 22, Stockton 20, Arana 18, Winston 14, Delos Santos 10, Caralipio 9, Maagdenberg 4, Melecio 4, Nieto 2, Fleming 1, Fornilos 0.

Meralco 99 – Newsome 25, Banchero 20, Black 19, Hodge 10, Quinto 9, Caram 6, Bates 5, Pasaol 5, Rios 0, Pascual 0, Maliski 0, Torres 0.

Quarters: 23-25, 42-53, 77-77, 104-99.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.